S11 & Schools Safeguarding (S175) audits
Findings from the ESCB Section 11 audit (S11) and the Schools’ Safeguarding Audit (S175) for the period October 2017 – May 2018 were shared. These audits are self-assessments and currently carried out every 2 years.
Overall there are no major issues for concern, and there has been high compliance in completing both the S11 and Schools safeguarding audits across Essex where agencies are demonstrating that they take very seriously their responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. The S11 audit also showed that partners have really used the learning from the previous audit in 2014/2015 to strengthen practice as the highest level of compliance this time around was “Safe Recruitment, Vetting & Allegations Management” (93%) which is a significant improvement since the last audit.
Implementing Essex's new Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements (MASA)
In conducting a review of its safeguarding arrangements, the Essex Safeguarding Children Board (ESCB) involved a wide range of partner agencies (via the ESCB Executive Board, the Assembly) and used evidence-based learning from the multi-agency safeguarding pilots across the country, as well as partners’ views across Essex of what works well. This has helped inform the draft Essex Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements Plan 2019-20 (MASA) brought to the board meeting for agreement and to ensure that we comply with legal requirement to publish the plan by 29 June 2019 and share with the Department for Education prior to our new arrangements going live from 29 September 2019
Essex’s new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements (from 29/09/19) will include:
Executive Board - Child abuse and exploitation was the overarching theme of the meeting.
Planning for new governance arrangements
The ESCB is planning for the transition to Multi Agency Safeguarding Arrangements by September 2019 . The principles of joint working across SET were discussed and will be explored further at the forthcoming SET Summit. The thee key partners i.e. Health, Police and Local Authority will also have further discussions to draft an outline proposal of what the new arrangements might look like to then present to a future meeting of the Executive.
Child Death Overview Panel
The structure of the Child Death Review service may change as we transition to new arrangements following the publication of revised CDOP guidance.
Each area currently has its own local Child Death Review panel, so it may be more effective to have one monthly SET panel. Some of those meetings could be themed, for example, looking at neonatal deaths, teenage suicides, life limiting illnesses.
The Child Death Overview Panel arrangements are SET wide, so with the changes to the safeguarding arrangements we are going to work together as much as possible with Southend and Thurrock.
Further information on these changes will be shared in due course once discussed with all partners.
Violence and vulnerability framework
Executive members agreed to accept the Violence and Vulnerability framework which is the wider Essex approach to dealing with gangs and violent exploitation. They also extended the role of CSE Project Manager to Child Exploitation Project Manager. This agreement means a greater focus on the growing issue of gangs and less overlap between the work of the Safeguarding Board and the Safer Essex and local Community Safety Partnerships as everyone will now be working to the same high level plan.
Child Sexual Exploitation
The Board agreed support for a wider remit of a Southend, Essex and Thurrock (SET) Child Exploitation Strategic Group to incorporate the work around criminal exploitation and gangs (focusing on violence and vulnerability) as well as the existing activity on CSE.
The new Working Together to Safeguarding Children was published after the Executive meeting had taken place. The commitment made at the SET Summit held in April was that we anticipated there would be some aspects of the changes that must be made under the guidance which would be SET wide, and others that are more local. The Business Managers from the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Boards are currently working on a draft plan for the new partnership arrangements required by the new legislation and guidance. It was agreed that each area would have separate partnerships broadly similar to the existing Board arrangement but that where possible joint work would be strengthened and this would be reflected in the plans for each Board. A further Summit will be held in the autumn with the three key agencies across SET i.e. police, health and local authority agreeing the final plans.
The Child Death Review process will be reviewed when new guidance for this is released.
We are required to notify a national panel when we intend to carry out a Case Review, and they will now make a decision as to whether they feel it is a case of national significance. If so, the panel will appoint a lead reviewer and also fund the review. For cases that aren’t of national significance, we have a local review process in place that will be adapted in line with the new legislative requirements.
Thematic Review of Teenage Suicides
A learning event took place in June, put together by commissioners from Essex County Council (ECC) and mental health services supported by the ESCB, to consider some of the learning from the review of suicides in Essex as well as broader themes around mental health and wellbeing. There is a coordinating group led by ECC, tasked with implementing the suicide strategy across Southend, Essex and Thurrock. Part of this work involves training, which the ESCB and ESAB Learning and Development Sub-Committee will support. Campaign work around World Suicide Prevention Day will take place in September, in conjunction with partner organisations.